by Marion Nestle
May 22 2010

The source of E. coli 0145?

Bill Marler, the Seattle attorney who represents victims of food poisonings, consistently urges federal food safety agencies to reveal what they know so consumers can protect themselves from unsafe food.

He is especially annoyed that the FDA has not revealed the name of the farm in Yuma, Arizona, linked to the bagged romaine lettuce that has sickened more than 30 people in several states so far with the unusual form of E. coli, 0145.

Marler knows how to get information (although not always accurate results, apparently – see update below).  He first offered $5,000–and later offered $10,000–as a reward to anyone who revealed the name of the farm before the FDA did (the money goes to charity).  He got two takers. Both identified a particular firm in California as the source.

Update, May 22:  I received a message today from Leslie Krasny, partner in the law firm of  Keller and Heckman, LLP, San Francisco, which represents the farm named by those sources.  She advises me that there is no evidence linking her client’s romaine lettuce to the outbreak and that her client is not even under investigation by the FDA.  She asks that I delete reference to her client, which I have done.  Mr. Marler also has done so.

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  • It seems like each day brings a new story about bacterial contamination of fresh raw produce. Do we need to quit eating all fresh raw produce, and eat only steamed veggies?

  • Jo Doorley

    No Jim, don’t quit start growing your own. Then you know exactly what has been put on it. I’ve heard some salads are sprayed up to 14 times before reaching the consumer.

  • Renee

    It seems to me that staying away from the bagged produce is the best way to avoid the contamination. At one point I was buying the bagged lettuce –it’s great to have a combination of baby greens, all ready to use. But I guess the convenience really isn’t worth the risk.

  • Quit eating raw veggies? Why? I’m never worried about the veggies I buy from our local farmers at the market. Once you accept the idea that we do not have a God-given right for tomatoes in December and strawberries all year long, it takes a lot of the fear out of eating.

  • E.coli didn’t exist until factory farms began to feed their cows with corn rather than grass, their natural diet.

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  • Nirvanna

    “E Coli didn’t exist until factory farms began to feed their cows corn…rather than grass.” Really? Never mind the fact that E Coli springs up more often than not in raw, organic produce….

    Ive got an idea…..lets keep increasing the demand for free range cattle consumption and continue to create more ag sprawl at the expense of our wetlands and rain forests.

    /sarcasm off

    Alan Savory/ Patrick Moore in 2012